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Alcohol addiction can be treated successfully through either outpatient or inpatient rehabilitation programmes. One of the primary benefits of attending rehab is the wide variety of behavioural and holistic therapies available to help with initial mood swings, symptoms, and overwhelming emotional outbursts.

Once treatment is complete, these same therapies are just as crucial for long-term sobriety. During the initial intake exam, your medical team will help create an aftercare plan that will include therapy and self-help groups that you can use to create a new positive support structure.

There are the well-known 12-step programmes and less common animal therapies or holistic approaches that look at mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing.

The Different Types of Common Therapies

These therapy options will be presented during alcohol rehabilitation treatments but will be useful well after the programme is complete.

You will want to follow up with one on one or group therapy after leaving rehab, so it is a good idea to find which of the following options you find yourself most comfortable with while they are offered.

Each behavioural therapy has its strengths and disadvantages, but there is one to fit every type of person, and you can find one that will be able to help change old thought patterns and negative behaviours.

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) focuses on the interrelatedness of the world and how every aspect impacts and influences it. This view is based on the dialectic approach to philosophy.

Talk therapy in individual or group settings helps participants find ways to focus on the present while practicing open, honest communication, and emotion management.

The desired result of DBT is to find a mental balance and peace, which will then allow the four main strategies to help alleviate daily stress.

Those four strategies central to DBT are the following.

  • Distress tolerance
  • Emotion regulation
  • Core mindfulness
  • Interpersonal effectiveness

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is one of the most common treatment options for anyone overcoming alcohol addiction.

By talking through emotional responses, historical reasonings, and current problematic thought processes, CBT can assist with replacing negative thoughts and behaviours with positive ones.

The sessions are talk-based and focus on challenging accepted beliefs that are harmful.

For addiction recovery, coping strategies are also created for overcoming cravings. This might include role-playing to find ways to avoid unwanted social situations.

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is often used in conjunction with other modes of therapy.

It is meant to provide a place for brief but intense treatment for the following areas:

  • Development of self-efficacy
  • Development of discrepancy
  • Rolling with resistance
  • Expressing empathy

MI is a talk-based therapy that is usually conducted one on one, and it is prevalent among rehab facilities for helping create a sense of empowerment.

For people who are overcoming addiction, self-doubt and self-loathing are often very strong, and MI is an excellent way to work through those feelings to reach a place of confidence.

The main difference between psychotherapy and other therapy options is that it is designed to be long-term and focus on all different aspects of a person’s psyche.

Unlike counselling, which is usually meant to help a person overcome a particular issue using only one type of therapeutic approach, psychotherapy can involve all the different options as needed over the course of several years.

Psychotherapy sessions are standard with the psychiatrist asking questions to help prompt introspection. The talk therapy can go over day-to-day events, lifetime struggles, and everything in between.

There are also several formats, including one on one, group, and instances where family members are brought in to address dysfunctions or miscommunications if that is desired.

The primary goal of psychotherapy is to create a sense of fulfillment, contentment, and happiness within the individual while also helping them increase willpower, confidence, and appropriate reactions.

Contingency Management (CM) uses physical rewards as a way to encourage positive behaviours and ways of thinking. For example, a clean drug test could be rewarded with tickets to a favorite event.

This is a handy personal growth tool for people who have trouble motivating themselves without outside incentives.

Holistic Therapy

A focus on holistic therapy will allow you to care for your mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing all at once. In this approach, being fit, happy, and fulfilled are all equally important to recovery success.

For individuals with a strong sense of spirituality, this can be the best therapy type since it does not let any aspect of your health fall to the side. Some private offices offer a combination of the below therapies while others do not, but most rehab facilities will have them available.

If this is something you find yourself drawn to, you will want to check with the facility before signing up to make sure that they are offered as alternatives.

After undergoing addiction and treatment, the human body has many recovery requirements that must be met before it can be healthy. Most people will have spent years mistreating their bodies, and essential nutrients will be missing.

Replenishing the body with food and nutrition is vital. An unhealthy body only hinders attempts at behavioural and thought modifications.

Nutritional therapy deals with this by creating a structured schedule for eating nutritional meals throughout the day to meet dietary requirements.

Like with sleep and nutrition, exercise helps to keep the body fit. In addition, exercise has long been known to produce natural endorphins that release feel-good chemicals into the body.

Finding a form of exercise that fits into your lifestyle and interests can help create an outlet during stressful moments.

Chiropractic care is used to remove body tension and provide relief from stress.

Alcohol addiction can cause some serious health side effects, and being able to release some of the tension caused by them through chiropractic, acupuncture, or body massage can be helpful.

Mindfulness can come in several forms, but it is incredibly potent as a recovery option when paired with meditation techniques. Yoga, breathing exercises, hypnosis, and even pilates are all activities that encourage mindfulness and meditative thinking.

In much the same way that chiropractic care is used to assist with tension in the body, massage therapy works through different muscle groups to encourage complete relaxation.


Acupuncture is one of the oldest treatments for mental and physical ailments in the world. It is a healing technique that originates from Eastern beliefs on the human body’s internal energy flow (i.e., chi).

Needles are placed at strategic pressure points around the body, and they are intended to reroute that energy in a way that helps overcome emotional distress and other ailments. It is also believed to help with blood flow and the elimination of toxins.

Additional Alternative Therapy Options

These are therapy options that lean outside the box a bit, and some of them have been around for centuries, while others are brand new and are still being studied for their effectiveness.

These make for excellent alternatives for anyone who does not feel like they get the most out of traditional psychotherapy or behavioural therapy.

Most of them help connect you to the moment and create a calm space for working through emotional issues.

Equine therapy is a way to gain independence, self-confidence, and non-judgemental support from a horse while caring for them. It encourages accountability, routine, and mindfulness.

During a session of equine therapy, the focus is on interacting and communicating with the horse.

One of the main goals of equine therapy is learning to associate emotions with their physical manifestations. This assists with learning emotional cues and learning to self-regulate behaviours and feelings.

Because the horse is the primary point of contact and the center of attention, it can be more comfortable for people who have difficulty talking to strangers or creating interpersonal relationships.

Almost any animal can be used in therapy. They create a safe barrier to help decrease anxiety and discomfort during regular therapy sessions.

One of the common animals seen being used is the dog, which has been an excellent therapy and support animal for decades.

Sometimes the pet is brought along to one-on-one therapy sessions to help ease any stress. Other times, they are used outside the appointment to help you get centered and ground yourself when emotions or social situations become overwhelming.

You can train your own pet to become a therapy animal, or you can purchase one that is certified and already trained (e.g., therapy dog, therapy horse, etc.).

Art is an excellent way to show emotions in a constructive, judgment-free, and safe environment. It is a way to discover new forms of self-expression and self-confidence without any expectations.

Many people who turn to drugs or alcohol have problems regulating or understanding their emotions.

Creativity and art is one way to delve straight into the source of different emotions and pull them apart until they are easily identified and better understood.

Art therapy is often used alongside more traditional behavioural therapy. The main goal is to connect more fully with your feelings so that it is easier to change them to support more positive thoughts and behaviours.

Neurofeedback uses maps of the brain and what is known about different areas to see how your brain reacts to stress.

Knowing the catalyst for various stressors and anxiety can help determine strategies to deal with them healthily and positively.

This is often used in conjunction with traditional therapy options to make sure the information learned through neurofeedback can be used to create new patterns of behaviours and thoughts.

Aftercare Therapy and Structured Support

During recovery, the most vulnerable time is after leaving the structured confines of rehab behind when returning to old social structures, habits, and living spaces can bring up cravings and ingrained thinking patterns.

During this time, the continued use of all support structures you have been working to create during treatment will be invaluable.

You are now aware of all the types of therapy out there, and there will be some that are more helpful to you individually and fit better into your lifestyle.

Having encouraging friends, family, and local community members be there to support you will make all the difference in your recovery.

Below are some of the most popular aftercare therapy focuses.

Having friends and family that are supportive, encouraging, and willing to help you move forward in your recovery will make an immense difference.

One of the hardest parts about returning to your life after being in a rehabilitation facility is the lack of structure and returning to old social groups and spaces attached to bad memories.

If your family can help you change your routines to find new friends and safe places that do not have memories of drugs or alcohol attached, then the likelihood of remaining sober increases substantially.

You can include your family in almost any traditional form of therapy though there are counsellors that are specially trained to deal with family dynamics.

There are numerous self-help groups. Also, both local and online support groups can aid you in maintaining your recovery. They are meant to be used in addition to therapy and other programmes (e.g., 12-step, AA, etc.) and should not be the only point of support.

There are many different sizes and types of groups, so no matter how you feel about social interactions, there will be a group that fits with your needs.

Most of them do not require participation, so they can work as a place to find understanding and support even if you do not feel safe sharing your own story immediately.

Probably the most well-known aftercare treatment option is the 12-step programme. It follows a set of standards and was created by the same group who started Alcoholics Anonymous.

There is a base of spirituality under each of the dozen steps provided, and this can be comforting to people of faith.

There is no requirement to believe for those who need the support structure but find themselves struggling to accept the existence of a higher power. It can be incredibly freeing to be part of a group of people who all understand what you are going through.

The main goal of the 12-step programme is to provide a judgment-free, supportive environment where you can share your struggles and successes during recovery.

Ready to get help?

At Rehab 4 Addiction, we offer high-quality rehabilitation & detoxification services tailored to your individual needs.

To discover your road to recovery, call us today on 0800 140 4690.